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Science and Culture: Popular and Philosophical Essays 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226326597
ISBN-10: 0226326594
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About the Author

David Cahan is Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and author of "An Institute for an Empire: The Physikalisch-Technische Reich-sanstalt, 1871-1918" (1990).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (August 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226326594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226326597
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,079,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Hermann von Helmholtz was quite simply one of the most important German scientists of the 19th century. However, what becomes so clear when one peruses the collection edited by David Cahan is that Helmholtz has much of interest to say to philosophers, artists, musicians, and historians. This collection includes his most important public addresses on a wide range of topics and provides a clear portrait of the breadth of Helmholtz's contributions to science and intellectual life. This provides in English what is lacking in the original German editions - a readily available, inexpensive edition of Helmholtz's highly influential work.
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Format: Paperback
Against Euclidean transcendental intuition. The mind invents the categories in terms of which it perceives the world. "The same aether vibrations which the eye feels as light, the skin feels as heat. The same aerial vibrations which the skin feels as whirring motions, the ear feels as sound." (p. 346). "Kant, however, went further ... [and] considered spatial determinations as little belonging to the real world, 'to the thing in itself,' as the colors which we see belonging to bodies in themselves, and which we rather brought into them through out eyes." (p. 348). Be here there is a strong disanalogy: spatial intuition, according to Kant, contains definite content, namely the Euclidean axioms. The supposed proof of this is that we can all intuit Euclidean geometry and no other geometries. But this proof fails. By the same reasoning one could "prove" that the English language is innate while Swahili is not. Just as we are born with a general language capacity that quickly specialises in response to given environmental conditions, there is every reason to think that our spatial intuition is initially neutral with respect to Euclidean or non-Euclidean geometry and subsequently formed by empirical data. Thus Kant's claim that the Euclidean axioms are innate is: "1. an unproven hypothesis; 2. an unnecessary hypothesis, since it pretends to explain nothing in our factual world of representation that could not also be explained without its help; and 3. a completely unusable hypothesis for the explanation of our knowledge of the real world, since the theorems established by it may first be applied to the relations of the real world after its objective validity has been experimentally proven and determined" (p. 380). Point 3 may be illustrated by the following example (p. 373).Read more ›
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Science and Culture: Popular and Philosophical Essays
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